Jun 9, 2010

History of a Bad First Draft by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Looking through a pile of old, disorganized papers a memory slides into place. It is about a first draft I wrote 30 years ago. I wonder if it still exists. Should I pull apart the drawer I think it is resting in to find it? I might need my fact mask as there is sure to be so much dust in that drawer.

Wow. I was a young woman. I'm still a young woman...maybe not. Ok, I'm a lot older, but running home to type the next few pages on my electric typewriter still feels like yesterday.

I remember my excitement. This was going to be my first novel. The plot was part mystery, part psychological. The protagonist was an elderly woman who lived alone in a rooming house in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore.

She had worked and was now retired. A spinster. The plot thickens. She is missing, but here's the twist. No one misses her, not even her landlord where she was paid up in rent many months ahead. Now the novel takes on more of a psychological cast. We have some deep societal issues of loneliness and not really belonging to anyone.

Was it a niece who finally came to look for her? I think it was about at this point in the story, maybe 30 pages in, that the book fell into a coma.

Quickly, with hardly a thought, I put the first draft away. No, it didn't have enough life to it, not even for me, its creator.

My zeal was gone. The best part of writing this first bad draft was walking along the ocean in Ocean Grove and imagining a great novel.

Still, every written endeavor leads to refining one's craft. And interestingly enough, when I wrote The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) 27 years later, I still was interested in mystery and psychology. So too, in Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I'll Tell You Mine....maybe. But what a difference the years had made. Now I know what I want to say and I have the technique to say it. I will let the bad first draft rest, but I'll still thankful for the step along the way to becoming a fiction writer that it provided.



Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.

Dr. Barbara is committed to bringing to the world the techniques she develops to help people access their Enchanted Selves. These core principles and techniques have brought insight and inspiration to many. Dr. Holstein believes that no one should be denied hope or a joyful life. Yes, happiness takes work, but no more work than living a life without hope, repeating negative thoughts and habits that lead to a life that feels less than inspiring.

Her book The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy was published in 1997 by Harwood Academic Publishers and is now in its second printing through Brunner-Routledge. This book is Dr. Holstein's pathfinder book where she outlines the best in Positive Psychology treatment techniques, two years before the term was coined!

Her second book Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! received rave reviews as a wonderful inspirational story book with space to journal.

There Comes A Time In Every Woman's Life for DELIGHT is Dr. Holstein's third book. This book takes the reader on a spiritual adventure with Dr. Holstein. Reader's love this book, getting to experience first hand celebrations and adventures that rekindle their own spirit of adventure. In two versions, paperback and a CD-rom version that includes music, art, and Dr. Holstein's voice, either is sure to be a 'Delight.'

Dr. Barbara speaks regularly on radio programs around the country, and appears on television in New York and New Jersey. Many of her inspiring audio shows and podcasts can be found on the web. Her articles and stories appear on the web on hundreds of sites. She also gives lectures, seminars, and tele-classes on happiness. Listen to archives of her e-radio shows, Happiness for Women Only on her website, www.enchantedself.com

Her book, The Truth, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything! is another first in positive psychology. A fictional book, written by a ten year old girl as a diary, Dr. Barbara has been able to imbed lots of positive truths that we all need to remember and live by, regardless of our age.

The girl's edition, titled: The Truth, (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) debuted February 2008 in bookstores nationwide.

Her newest book,is the second in The Truth Series It’s title is: SECRETS: You tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine…maybe!

This book continues the adventures of the ‘girl’ who is now 13.

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